I find it peculiar that just within the same few weeks there was two films released centering on the Olympic Games. The first being the film Race about the track star Jesse Owens, a picture I already reviewed negatively. The second being Eddie the Eagle, a film about an underdog in the 1988 Winter Olympic games. While Race came as a big disappointment to me for many reasons, I found Eddie the Eagle to be a relatively better flick.
Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as the ambitious Eddie Edwards who has his entire life dreamed of becoming an Olympian. Eddie finds as a young boy that he is no good at track and field events, so pursues a future in skiing. When he is rejected by the British Olympics team for lacking typical Olympian qualities, he decides to pursue ski jumping as an alternative. With the help of his intrepid coach played by Hugh Jackman, Eddie hopes to be ready to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
Eddie the Eagle has all the clichés one could imagine from a typical sports film. A coach who is struggling with the demons of his past, the butting heads of the coach and athlete in the first act, and the doubt in ability of the protagonist by his peers. Even the structure of the narrative calls out in comparison to most sports films.
While these clichés hinder Eddie the Eagle in originality, they do nothing to hurt the drive this film has. Both Jackman and Egerton put their all into Eddie the Eagle, and it shows! The onscreen chemistry of the two is phenomenal and you can really tell they’re having fun with it. They both do a great job in expressing their emotions to the audience, oftentimes without even speaking.
The film also excels in sucking the audience into its story, submerging the viewers into the particular emotion desired. I could feel my own heart pumping fast as Eddie climbed to the top of a 90 meter ski jump. I felt the exact size and magnitude of what he was up against and what was all on the line as he shot down the ramp.
There is little to say about Eddie the Eagle that hasn’t already been said for most good sports films. As Eddie the Eagle nosedives on its originality, it soars high with the heart and determination of its characters. By the end of the film I feel most people will leave satisfied with what Eddie the Eagle has to offer. Even if its story arch has already been done to death.